Machining is the basic type of subtractive manufacturing. It focuses on creating an item of the desired shape and dimensions, possessing particular dimensional and mechanical properties, by an appropriate material-removal process. The processing may involve one or several tools. Based on the method of work, and the operations conducted on the workpiece and the tools used, the following machining processes may be distinguished: turning, grinding, drilling, milling, drawing, threading etc.

The machining method is chosen on the basis of the intended use of the workpiece and the available time. CNC machining allows quicker operations, high accuracy and rapid processing rates. It is becoming a more popular alternative to other mechanical technologies, although they are still preferred when price is a consideration. Processing a workpiece using manually controlled machines is more time-consuming.